June 12: 22 Years Later

It comes around once
a year like any other
with a morning,

noon, afternoon, civil
twilight reminder. The Cuyahoga

River at dusk. A boat docked
in the Flats. An outdoor stage. The opening
act. Guitars. Dance in black

leggings and a royal blue
floral button down baby
doll dress with pockets.

Is it mine? The first
kiss, beer on tap, another kiss,
more beer on tap. Stouffer Inn, magic elevator

carpet. Room service pizza.
Clothes off. Jokes on
all night. Nothing dies

within your reach
again. A child who would be
21 by now is not mine
or yours—is the night’s own.

Fell in Love then Met

Remember when
a nook was a nook, friend
and text were nouns. We were verbs

entwined without
unnecessary articles. I imagine you
the way I did before

we met—and the whole poem collapsed
under the weight of our naked
words. Truth is

what was stranger than
has been replaced with less than
a preoccupation

with middle-aged thighs. And I
recognize this contradicts everything

you presume. Probably. Vain
is still nothing
but a modifier. The end.

1991: A Poem

Dream. Premonition. Mortality
begins now. I give him an anecdote
in a letter—he’ll never receive
my gift. If equilibrium exists, where’s my

ecstasy? My sister and I watch boats go
up and down the terrifyingly calm

Cuyahoga. Aboard the floating
Heartbreak Hotel, it’s all so close—
the banks of the river, a rail bridge ahead, the crushing
of fantasies. But it doesn’t happen

that way. The world begins to tip in a slowed motion. Sights
and sounds expand beyond their original limits. I watch

from another planet as he walks up the aisle. A kiss,
a hand in hand. Shall I be so bold
as to ask you? He asks. We kiss
as if the elevator door would never open again. Lovely

feet and hands. Brown eyes that turn cloudy
green or bottomless black at will—not his. When

he makes love, he talks. He loves
those vocal chords. I retreat
to the lobby bathroom to check
if I’m still wearing

my own skin. Is it mine? Still? Indeed.
Gravity is overrated.

Fact or Fiction

The details have begun
to fade—was it June
or July? New York or
Cleveland? Who were you 

opening for? Was a body
of water involved? I could sprinkle
these memory ashes
downstream into the river 

deceit. The truth: 

I haven’t forgotten even one
detail. Down to the pocket
in my dress, later chewed and torn
by an innocent Airedale. 

The truth? Do memories drown
when they’ve served their purpose?
Is two decades long enough?
What if they float?